Saturday, September 19, 2020

the religion of meat.

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A little while ago I posted about how I used to be in a part of a cult church that was a very particular brand of conservative ultra right wing that used their faith to justify their bacon cheeseburger eating, war and not caring about the environment. I’ve found the same devout beliefs when it comes to those I knew who were very right wing ultra conservative, honestly most of the time I could not see a difference between their belief in Jesus and their belief in the neo conservative style politics. Since then, I was fortunate to leave that place and all of the circles that I was a part of, and fortunate to discover my own truths, and I am now a very loving, happy, peaceful atheist.

I also happen to be vegan now, and I know that in the circles I hung out in a few years ago, it would not have been possible. Animal eating, destroying the earth were rights, they were simply put here for our enjoyment and to use the way we wanted (so I was told over and over in various ways). Most of the people I hung out with could give you a few loosely connected verses from their holy book and justify it all. Later I would make the connection that these beliefs were tied so tight with their political beliefs. Somehow the likes of right wing media had convinced a group of people that their faith and some of the more right winged beliefs were one in the same. I am thankful that I got out and was able to see what was happening, leaving that all behind changed my life in every way possible, all for the good. For the most part, I have been rejected from those circles, and so I do not talk to anyone in them, and on the rare occasion that I do, if I mention anything about being vegan, eyes start to roll, and the mocking and teasing begins.

In my life now, I’ve decided that I’m living a life with as little negativity as I can, I simply don’t need it. And so I surround myself with loving, caring, peaceful and encouraging people.

When I wrote about the religious stuff last week, I was kind of shocked when I got a lot of e-mails which said “I’m vegan because I’m Christian!” or “I’m vegan because I’m Jewish” or Muslim, or Budhist, or Hindu, or Pagan, or Wiccan. Up until then I really never thought about people who were vegan because of their faith. As an atheist now, and very far removed from any kind of faith, I make all of my decisions with no higher power in mind, this does not mean that I do not respect those that do, but I find it interesting that some would take their holy book to justify something like meat eating, and others, reading the same exact book would take it to justify never eating meat.

This is  definitely not my area of expertise. This blog, and he has a really well put together list of vegan/vegetarian religious resources that I’ve been reading through to understand more and more about people who tie their religion and their vegan beliefs together. I want to understand why different people are vegan, so that I can be able to converse (even if it is lightly) about it with people who begin to justify their animal eating ways with their faith. Or at the very least, I’d like to point them in the direction of some good resources or people that could converse with them. My intent is not to put down anyone’s belief, or challenge them to change their belief in the higher power they believe in. I know that there are some out there that take their direction from another source, and they would not make a decision like going vegan  with out that sources approval.

All of that to say, I would love to hear from you, if you would be willing to comment on if you are vegan and are so in part because of the faith that you have.Or if you have some books, articles, movies that you would like to point to, that would also be helpful.

11 COMMENTS

  1. Geoffrey

    Though I do not adhere myself to organization in regards to spirituality, I do follow principles I know to be true. One of them happens to be veganism.
    To really feel the fullness of life and to thereby honor life ,I know from experience that being healthy is essential. Consuming things that were closest to be alive when you eat them is essential for health. They then give to you, in return, life.
    Consuming animals is once-removing you from that process. They eat the things that are closest to living (even that point is arguable0 and then you kill them, age them, cook the nutrients out of them, and then eat them.
    If we were meant to eat meat, our bowels would be straighter, we would have fangs to eat the kill directly, and we would have the necessary internal means to break down saturated fats.
    One thing that I do agree with some detractors of veganism is this. Consuming things other than things that once had life is not an option. I am my brothers keeper. Whether they are plant or animal. We must consume life to be alive. What is left is what serves you or does not serve you. Eating animals does not serve you.

  2. Nat

    Thank you so much for your response. Prior to going vegan, and having done NO research on the way my body worked, I had no clue that our bodies were never meant to consume animal products. And the evidence for this is not really hard to get to at all.
    I really liked what you had to say about feeling the fullness of life.
    Thanks again

  3. tangerine

    There seem to be veg*n branches within all major religions. I dont find that surprising at all, b/c even with obvious flaws- typical message that all religions seem to have in common is simply to be kind. There are several different reasons why a person is attracted to an x religion, but if it’s because of that message, then it makes sense that some of those ppl will extend that kindness to other species, and possibly even find environmentalism as an expression of kindness.

    I dont consider myself religious, b/c I dont follow any specific religious book or doctrine, & dont belong to any religious group. Im spiritual though- & believe in the meaning and order of all things- I can only speculate what that meaning is- and keep an open mind to all weird possibilities and explanations. The side effect is- I get too philosophical. lol

  4. Alejandra

    I would like to point you out to Coleen Patrick-Goudreau’s podcasts: http://www.colleenpatrickgoudreau.com/podcast/
    She has prouced a lot of them in the last couple of years and I believe she talks about meat eating justified by religion belief in one of them. Her podcast are very informative because she does a lot of research and gives you thorough knowledge and real tools to handle discussions with people who have different opinions, without getting overwhelmed/frustrated.
    Talking about religion, I don’t know if you heard of the documentary called ‘Zeitgeist’, it’s free to download on internet. The first part of this documentary talks about the foundations of religions. I am not saying it is absolutely true or anything but it’s interesting nonetheless (oh! and do not hesitate in skipping the first 10 minutes intro which are boring as hell and not necessary to understand the rest).

    Take care,

    Alejandra

  5. Daniella

    Wonderful post! I know many vegans who are vegan because of religious purposes. When my husband and I started the vegan thing I did it because it was simply too hard not to be healthy, and eat locally without it. It caused too much carbon to eat and since we were lowering our eco-footprint it had to go! Weeks later I am suddenly finding my own spirituality again. Buddhists are notoriously strange when it comes to food. You can eat meat but only if it is not slaughtered particularly for you, or only if it is offered to you since refusing is a slight to people. I realize the reason it was so easy to eat meat was because there are so many loopholes in the practice of food. I find myself more conscious of why I should be vegan and accepting it, instead of thinking of it as a chore or something I HAVE to do! Turns out I’m now vegan for religious reasons, even thought it started as something else! The path works in mysterious ways.

  6. Carlota

    I’m not a religious person, but I believe in Good..or a Goddess. I believe in the power of nature, and that’s one of the reasons why I’m going (I’ve started jzt a few weeks) vegan. I hate to think that here (in Brazil) the Christian Churches make Barbecues to raise funds for the church..
    Well..I don’t like religious people or religion at all..but I’m glad that the adventists exist, so I can have my soy hot dog (the only brand that makes soy products that doesn’t taste awfull is Superbom, something like Supergood, and they are adventist).

  7. cherry

    Really this is one thought-provoking post. As a vegan that is mostly generated through faith in Karma, the belief that “what goes around comes around” and also that undeniable fact that farming today is an extremely cruel practice unlike in the pre-industrialized past.

    I would like to extend on what Danielle said that Buddhists can eat meat if they are not slaughtered for you- that’s mostly practitioners of the Theravada / Hinayana tradition where they strive for individual enlightenment.

    Mahayana and a handful of Tantric Buddhists have a motivation of compassion and achieving enlightenment for the sake of others will practice abstinence from meat whether they are killed for them or not.

    The practice of meat-eating is also an individual choice may seem to belie the notion of Karma- the personal choices you make determines a later effect, whether positive or negative- based on the conditions and motivations of the chosen cause of action.

    Therefore, to each of his/her own.

  8. Mary

    Thank you for writing about this Natala. I am a Christian and I am vegan because of my beliefs. I think an important thing to realize is that most American Christianity, like the type of Christianity you were involved with is a very hostile, rare but very vocal and corrupt kind of Christianity that is very quickly becoming completely irrelevant. Most of the people I know who are Christians are peaceful, loving, compassionate people.
    I have been in many arguments with political right wing Christians regarding my believing that killing an animals for the greed of feeding myself, and they simply do not understand.
    I believe it is very clearly in the Bible, and I believe that when God seemed to give the okay to eat meat it with very specific culturally relevant guidelines, such as turning down meat offered at someones home would be taken as an offense to the host.
    The only reason why we have the amount of livestock that we do is because man has played God in reproducing and forcing these animals to reproduce, using harsh and unethical practices. I do not believe that God wants us to be filled with greed, nor support the corporations that profit in the billions by our illness and our addictions.
    This is why I refrain from all animal products. It does not honor the God that I believe in, and it does not honor the Earth and the creatures on the Earth. It only honors the greed and the selfishness that is man.

    I too have seen great health benefits from becoming vegan, I had severe depression and suffered from chronic pain, since going Vegan that has all changed. I thank God for this, and I thank all of those in the community who continue to get the word out there.

    Thanks again for letting us express our beliefs on this very important subject!

  9. Priya

    I am vegan and as a Hindu my belief is that the cow is sacred (though all animals should be respected). Non-violence is an integral part of my way of life and this doesn’t fit with how dairy is mass produced. Therefore unless I find a cruelty free source of dairy (highly unlikely unless I find somewhere to keep a cow myself) I will stay vegan.

    Interesting post- it is nice to discover why people become vegan!

  10. Kate

    I grew up in a meat-eating household and am now vegetarian and starting to become vegan. I have debates with my parents about why I don’t eat meat and they tell me about how meat is in the Bible, too. In my opinion, Jesus would never approve of the cruelty that goes on with today’s factory farming. My parents, along with many others, were not even aware of many of the abuses that happen on today’s factory farms and they seem to be in denial about it. Part of the problem is education, but then once you educate, it is hard for people to change their ways when they are stuck in the mentality that they grew up with. Everyone is at a different stage in their spiritual evolution, I guess. The whole thing about religion, though, is that there are contradictions everywhere: I can walk into my church and have people rolling up their eyes because they don’t want to move over to make a place for my family to sit and then leave that same church where we all shook hands as sisters and brothers and have people trying to run me over in the parking lot. People can use religion to support or contradict whatever issue they happen to believe in on any given day. I still have a very strong faith and believe so strongly that we can lead by our example. By choosing a path of less cruelty, you are opening the door for others to follow.

  11. Lily

    I am a Christian by heritage, although I don’t presently attend church with regularity. I have some understanding of your prior experience, although I would characterize the churches I grew up in as cultish. However, meat eating (and certain other activities/habits I disagree with) was pervasive with very little concern for the methods used to raise and kill the vast quantities of animals. I am vegetarian and while I would not cite my faith as the *reason* I stopped eating meat I certainly believe it is compatible with it.

    I think it is important to realize that there are many interpretations of the same text in all major faiths. Christians range from pacifists to ultra-conservative. Islam is the same faith that produces extremely moderate believers who’s female adherents may or may not wear head coverings and areas where burkas are mandated by law. Jewish people run the gamut from Reformed to Orthodox. More or less, in each major faith the believers are reading the same text but reaching very different interpretations, which is why we have so many denominations and sects with in each.

    I have not started it yet, but you might be interested in the book Dominion by Matthew Scully. It is an argument for veganism from a Christian worldview.

Nat
I went on a plant based diet after diabetes almost took my life. Now, almost 2 years later not only have I reduced my type 2 diabetes symptoms, I have lost close to 200 pounds (and still losing). This is a place where I write about my journey as I continue the quest for health, and living a good life for today, and long into the future. Get hold of me on nat@cleanseplan.com

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